Starting a new chapter

Snipped out of August 2010, Vanity Fair: Cary in the Sky with Diamonds

It's been six months since my last post.  In that time, our world has shifted dramatically, and continues to do so, and my world has continued to transform on its own small scale.

I haven't posted for several reasons:

1) Like many others, I've been overwhelmed trying to understand and engage in our country's changing politics, so I haven't been sure what I could add except another voice of fear and anguish. 

2) Shocking news flash: People are shits online!  And I take criticism very personally (don't we all?).  One harsh comment has been known to ruin my day, week, month.  In fact, there's one comment from last summer that I'm still recovering from.

3) My life has taken off on an exciting new direction (more on that in a minute), and for the first time, I'm trying to actually focus, rather than diversify, so this moved to the bottom of the list of priorities.

4) What the hell do I write about now?  So much of this blog initially revolved around my mom and multiple system atrophy and grief that it felt like any new topic would be an abrupt shift.  

But time heals, at least a little.  My grief is not gone, but I've missed writing and posting. In March, we hit the one year mark of Mom's death, and the weeks leading up to it were horrible.  My sadness still catches me off guard.  It still feels unreal.  I still miss Mom immensely and intensely, want to call her, see her, hear her, hug her...  but I am now able to compartmentalize that pain most of the time.  And I am making time to hold space for it, rather than avoiding or ignoring it.

To quote a line from Westworld (because, well, brilliant show, brilliant line, brilliant acting): "The pain, their loss, it's all I have left of them.  You think the grief will make you smaller inside, like your heart will collapse in on itself, but it doesn't.  I feel spaces opening up inside of me, like a building with rooms I've never explored."

A recent nudge from my therapist got me thinking about writing again. About sharing what I'm finding in my unexplored rooms. My skin is a little thicker.  My mind is a little clearer. Maybe enough time has passed that I am ready to start a new chapter here.  I enjoyed using this space to share ideas.  Writing helped me find meaning and beauty, even in difficult times. And I was honored when people I loved and respected, and sometimes complete strangers, said that my posts helped them feel less alone, or helped them find comfort and inspiration.  I was also deeply touched by the connection, love and support that my family and I received from so many of you.  I will be forever grateful to my mom for allowing me to share our story, and I am grateful that in doing so, we have also helped at least a few others have less pain, more joy, and maybe even some laughs.

So, all of this is to say I am going to start posting again.  We'll see where we go together.

My posts will be a little shorter.   I'm long-winded by nature, so we'll see how short I can keep them.  But I keep telling my patients, friends, family, anyone who will listen: when it comes to behavior change, a little bit of a good thing is better than none, and a little bit of a bad thing is better than a lot.  Small victories still count!  And starting with small steps often helps us gain momentum for longer-term change.

Now as for the new chapter of which I speak: I'm thrilled to share that Jarred and I will be moving in 2018!  We'll be moving to Los Angeles. Because I am going to seriously pursue acting.  

Pause for effect.  See? I'm already great at this drama thing.

Yes.  Acting!  Like for film, TV, stage, YouTube commercials, whatever I can get into.  Maybe I'll be the Statue of Liberty twirling the sign that says "We do your taxes" in front of Liberty Mutual next April.  Whatever I can get!  Anyone who has known me for more than ten minutes probably won't find this direction change too shocking (and if you've read my other post about acting, it may not surprise you either).   

Jarred and I have informed our bosses that we will not be renewing our contracts, and our plan is to move to L.A. in January.  At this point, we still have a few steps to take to turn this plan into a reality (like finding work, housing, and moving, but you know, other than that, we're pretty much good to go).  So if you have suggestions for us, please feel free to message me or post on Facebook (seriously).  But, we've turned the corner on whether this is a hypothetical or a definite plan, and I will argue, that is the hardest part of any change.  Committing to actually doing it.

As I've talked with people about our journey over the past year, I've gotten a ton of positive feedback, so I hope sharing it here will be useful to others too.  Thanks to all of you for your love and support.  More to come soon!